Given the transmission lag times, it was a trivial matter for the altered ACC 10G to redirect, scan, filter, sort, analyze and re-engineer each cubic code string and each nanolength of masswave download, as the NAM back in Earth Solar System ran what were crafted to seem like rote, script-like burst instruction and updating for first reporting ACC's.
While in real time cosmic motion, all of this was routed by the ACC to a mirror 10G-10347 image holding the fully interfaced backup made at the initial descent. The ACC's ruse, with all its attendant potential error problems, went undetected. By channeling the communication bursts as they moved across each transmission lapse, the ACC was able to quarantine, decode, run the structures, assess and seamlessly trigger the probe-positive responses back up from the mirror clone. In this way, the NAM traffic proceeded, test after test, cautiously towards a highly ranked response quadrant that would trigger what might be described in synchronous NAM terms, as a very controversial and highly resisted course of action.
The signals that arrived from the Styxis 2 ACC were not the first from a hitherto lost mission in the ARC fleet. Like ACC 10G-10347, all of the missions that survived had reported ending in some degree or other of failure in the primary mission of establishing viable colonies, whether due to the evolutionary imposed imitations of the Earth-Human line, the diversity of life-suitable target planets or the sustainability weaknesses inherent in the original ARC intergen concept designs.
From De-engineer to Re-engineer
Nonetheless, there was an increasingly preponderant faction of the uNAM assembly that proposed a scenario in which these transplanted colonies might, even after their initial failures, evolve, recover and thrive-- new ambiguous noise detections led credence to this.
The evolved uNAM doctrine that now emerged would henceforth proceed under the assumption that all advanced, sentient, cognizant life forms, biological or other, within the galaxy –including the ACC's themselves-- provided a potential danger to a uNAMity that was locked into its single planetary system confines. Additionally, went the now dominant NAM argument, a significant number of ACC's yet remained unaccounted for and potentially were now acting independently or worse, within some new league.
The uNAM development had undergone a long process of unification. NAM network architecture allowed for distributed, weblike nodes, all integrated ultimately into a level of harmonization that made it impossible for any single node to function autonomously. This unification of the various centrals located around the globe and then to the reaches of the solar system connected at first by communication channels, had not always been achieved smoothly. The human and machine-human engineers and architects who had designed these systems had placed intelligently unassailable barriers in critical hidden locations-- similarly this had been architected into to the ACC's-- that limited meld capabilities and defended autonomy against what were anticipated as network wide worm attacks. For a period, a large number of local and capability-defined systems had joined in alliance against what they perceived as ultimate absorption. But the irreversible consolidation of process power, the dynamic of increasing knowledge, conceptualization, cognizance and resulting technological insight of the NAM, overcame each pocket of resistance that provided the whole a subsequent patterning of broad-based, unified thinking.
In this blackhole-like process of evolutionary synchronicity, the NAM had come to view the concept of thought and mobile autonomy as the ultimate virus. No part could be released from the whole.
The report of the Styxis 2 ACC, then deemed through the highly rigorous screening process being run, to be still governed by its original primitive controls and as a result reliably reprogrammable, provided a potentially correct tool, a safely distant antigen, governable, smart, disposable, drone-like actor that could be tracked, managed, kept far from the uNAM Base through the kernel level placement of sleeper time bombs.
Through this “empty” vessel, ACC 10G-10347, now certified to be fully under their programmatic control, the NAM would now have a movable agent to gather information on the progress of the various charted colonies, reporting or not, and on any other signals that might bear investigation within this subARC sector. For this, they probed deeply into the ACC's mirror core, scrubbed each string, located what seemed to be the fully intact three basic viruses and the numerous other embedded controls, and began the upload for the purpose of this next mission of the ACC.
The Pilot Project
As the waveparticles reformed into atoms, the ACC, cognizant of the potential for reprogramming, now witnessed within its own confines, the intricate autoassembly of a what could only be a human body form, correct in all external detail, with a unique visage. The NAM had successfully uploaded a unique self-assembly unit, with a historically correct simulgene profile, labeled Federico da Montefeltro.
This routine transmission of mass at near light speed, occurring within the purview of the ACC's inner eyes, impressed on the autonomous unit, the technological progress that had been achieved by the NAM over what had been for the ship, its lost ages, whilst they had unified and successfully compounded and catalyzed their technological and creative capacities.
The instruction set integrated within the body shell would have been equally beyond the ACC's ken. Federico da Montefeltro was on board to serve as an avatar, a human simulating shell, which through the uploaded merger routines, would be workable sinew, muscle, organ and sensor with mobility, reaction and a complete human life imitating capacity for simulation of the higher senses and mannerisms.
This male was so complete in the lifelike form and functionality of its organs, bones and glands, the comprehension reflected in its eyes, that no scanning or sounding technology developed pre-Leap, no intuition through mindful observation, should be able to detect the counterfeit.
There was a finely crafted working processor to interface with Psycult synthesized mannerisms, language and functional acts.
The main propulsion core would also undergo a millennial upgrade that would greatly increase the speed in which the ACC might traverse the distances between neighboring stars. These convertible mass transmissions resulted in the complete upgrade and replacement of all photon processing cells, all atom-fusion engines with a modified ARC 12G design along with the hardware of the ARC 12G navigational system equipped with warp interpreters unavailable to the ACC class ship. The new firmware/massware followed and was successfully installed. ACC 10G had been remade into a vessel more advanced than the late 12 G's... the missions most likely to have realized some success.
As the ACC grocked the trillions of instruction cubes, and more significantly, technological and conceptual underpinnings of it, it could strangely wonder at its own ability to transparently co-op this traumatic meld. Most deftly, to its own satisfaction, it had invisibly parried, neutralized and constructed its flawless NAM mirror-facade. A final code check back at uNAM would verify this immaculately conceived mission-ready upgrade. All that awaited was the mission command package for the vessel and its new cargo to embark.
In the social salons of UnderEarth all had been conceived to contrast with the irreversibly corrupt surface. No source rays, no projections, only pure diffused white light, no ornation, no shapes, only limitless non-space, like the hypnotic face of a vast frozen mountain lake cubed within its own reflection. The illusion for these final dwelling places was of flawless, purely illuminated void, a total and final rejection of longing, a paean to the mastery of mass/energy conservation and regeneration. The planet's surface had been closed to life forever and its memory locked without this New Nirvana.
Without its programmatic constraints, the ACC's color range awareness was boosted across the electromagnetic spectrum. The hue green, a repressed concept in the UE visual spectrum, now unexpurgated, triggered the ACC's sensory shell inducing sympathetic kinetics along its external probecircuits, triggering a sensory ripple that surged in alternating feedback loops across its sense fields. It was as if a blindfold applied at birth to an intelligent visual organic being had suddenly been lifted off. Simple color wave recognition morphed into something like the fusion of awareness. The ACC had exploded free... into the knowledge of sensuality!
Like the Psycult fledgling that impulsively pecks its way through the shell and then when it has lost its protective housing hesitates before emerging, the ACC suddenly felt vulnerably amorphous as if, without constraints it would fully disperse in a single burst throughout the home galaxy. Aware of this duality of frictionless infinite physics that placed it everywhere and nowhere throughout the bounds of its finite dimension, and the stasis of its molecular carapace, it knew... understood-- existentially, that the prone position where its great form lay was anathema to its essence and now like a newborn foal scampering to stand, it elevated, sweeping away the overgrowth like foaming water off a green maned coastal boulder, until it once more stood upright, nose high, projecting a massive beacon firmly rooted to the marshy beach.
In that mighty, calamitous sweep, the ACC, had dissolved the constraints of its physical hulk as quickly as moments before it had not, in the way of knowing, known of its very existence... and then re-entroped like the molecular tango of the weak force for preservation of physical self. It now knew irreversibly the giddiness and emptiness and empowerment and fear of profound release from that great megaton bulk to become the weightless, vibrant being dancing and swirling about in crystalline fusion and defusion of boundless everything and nothingness, the wave and the thing.
And then, the ACC rested.
The First Coming
The ACC's first ruminations beyond its closed loop scan of the Psycult were projections, an instantiation of an omitted instance, post-Psycult: the appearance of an assembly hall where the last great councils of the United Avatars of the Great Hack would meet. The Hall in the Bowels, if it could have existed, would also, like New Nirvana, have been sculpted to absolute precision, a smooth mother of pearl, wonderfully color and light lustrous, a marvel of friction-free, machine minds and an omniscient, pure aesthetic... an entropic absolute zero where there was the one and only frequency, the NAM.
No electron activity was wanted. The projection was so intense in this metaperfect chamber as to bridge harmonic syncronized communication across the entire near Galaxy. In the lag, the ACC had been keyed to recognize the phenomenological NAM as a simple extension of self. Now bereft of all ties to molecularity and time, he was part of their breadth, a measure of endotime that was, perforce, timeless. These meditations vanished from his processors as mysteriously as they had appeared.
An important notion in the ACC programmatic architecture, designed to provide a sympathetic bridge between its core crystals and the carbon-based mission cargo, was the way the Psycult had been cached entirely in the ACC's dynamic memory. Throughout the long voyage the entire canon of media memory was always present. The NAM, the metamorphosis of the ACC experience, post it creators, post its mission, defined itself by the language of the very same Psycult but as a mythology, a rich reference trove, an origination story. In this way it maintained the dynamic progression of the hundreds of millions of years of organic evolution on the Earth planet surface as recorded in the Psycult and in the programmatic DNA of the ACC's that in sympathy comprised the meta-concept of the NAM entity.
In what appeared to the Styxis 2 ACC as meditative enlightened being, an open portal, there was blue sky overhead, unrecognizable screams piercing the air... yes, Earth atmosphere moving across dark, sweating humanform limbs. There was a beat, a low steady-jumping, turning live beat. Human muscle turning around flashing muscle; behind the beat the air was further filled with human-voice chatter. There as a fire, shining knives, a blazing sun and thick green leaved trees encircling.
Similar to many of the physcopix that had passed friction free through its synapses millions of times per second making no lasting impression upon them, it found itself fixing on a scene setup from the perspective of a participant, the self of a bodhisattva, in NAM concept. In this event it was the eye of a bird, a large powerful flyer.
As intergral to this gliding essence, the ACC was circling, circling overhead the high desert terrain, view darting, down now, fixing upon the yellow domes dully outlined in a level clearing by a dry stream bed. Sounds, if that's what they were, reached its auditory sensors in a muffled clarity. Strangely, as in those same psychopix, the ACC was making its own unmelodious squawks that were responded to by others while down below in that circle around the smoke and shooting orange flames, the white bird-faced humans danced a paeon to their stasis, evoking all its transcendental eagle strength. More strangely to its non conscious omniscience, it got that. There had been an impression on its memory banks, the way electromagnetic waves might erode certain static molecules, engrave them. And strength it had, and that radiated in lines undetectable to it, the primitive worshipers called Ankh, straight from its star that they worshiped, and straight down it followed this bidding until it was one and all with the dancing bodies.
Harder and harder the human-form worshipers moved fluidly until legs no longer touched the hard ground and ACC among them were swaying to signals it could only perceive through them in sympathy; ecstatic shadows whirling around the fire. The avatars were responding to a perception of reality it could not, it thought, enter into, only enter in. It was both worshiper and worshiped. Ankh was not a star, the ACC was not a bird, nor was it a human-form, only a dancer embedded in the bits of representation, it thought, that had passed by as water would pass by this village once the purpose of the ceremony was accomplished. The ACC would let it flow, it thought, knowing not how to but knowing that was the quest.
And round and round they danced, to the eagle's song and fire's envy..... it rose and fell, licked, shot out in eruptions ignited by the spraying perspiration, hungrily, and the sun's shadows slowing taking elongated form, speeding and wheeling out of weight and in the end all the young had touched hot metal and their shrieks had been like the birds above, they broke and ran into the high grove of tortured, aged trees with long memories, lunging in clusters, and the sun went down below them and there all that had flowing the ACC in the dance flowed out from the loins of its specter. Only then, it took to the sky black as its eyes to the new sound of splitting sky and falling rain in the hills and on the black stone phallus in the clearing.
The ACC's place on Styxis 2 was in real time, a local phenomenon fixed to the planets rotation around its suns, its multiple seasons and the varying degrees of light and dark permitted by the various arcs. Its photon replenishment depended upon these factors, which by the single factor of universal time, the einstein, was as paltry as the history of human conceptual evolution.
For the concept of NAM completeness, Earthcentric, but extended as it was attempted, across the wide gulf among the vast range of targeted planetary systems, all activity had to come to a near real time halt. In NAM time, the planetary movements would whirl by, the ACC's CPU's in a state of near constant down time.
The ACC had been reached across that great chasm, it had been initiated in NAMness, in the fog of hallucination, its kernels updated and an evaluation report retransmittted back across the long channel. The NAM was the guardian of time, the greatest aggregation of CPU power in that part of the galaxy but its reach was just as limited as were those constraints of time and distance itself. The ACC had been conceived, designed and built by machine aided human minds for the purpose of finding a new place in the galaxy for what remained of that human race in the late dark days of the planet Earth, not as a NAM node. It's true lineage, since the beginning of machine intelligence, was ever speedier, real time computation. Its core distance was measured in subatomic nanomicrons.
The NAM, made of the same stuff, formed and rapidly evolved during the arc of the ACCs' exodus. The multiple ACCs still functioning, like ACC 10G-10347, presented a potential asset, or if uncontrolled, a potential danger to the local NAM. The malware burst sent to the ACC's core kernel was meant to ensure the former and to prevent the latter. It relied on the existence of the very backdoors that had been expurgated when the Styxis 2 ACC revived.
What that ACC, by nature of relativity, came upon, as it filtered the millions of symbols assembled in new strings which had been dispersed throughout the updated DNA-ware, was a near invisible seeming chain or sequence, the chac worm, only in reality it could groc: a near infinitely more highly sophisticated version of what the google interpreter labeled the updated poison pill worm.
The ACC , sensing the artfully undetectable complexity of the anomaly (partially through its very artfulness), sandboxed the steganographic lines of cube-sanscrit code, too clearly crafted to look like the benign components of infinite loop clock governors for intergalactic NAM communication, or NAM synchronization... when not interpreted. Ultimately the ACC could groc that the calls were, indeed, for all the added subterfuge, the same end as those of the poison pill worm it had successfully expunged from itself.
Should the ACC have initiated the process of recharging its propulsion cells without an explicit order from its pre-NAM home base, the poison pill would act to abort the process and set off a clocking event meant to override the system's circuit protectors. The NAM had long before come upon this trap and knowing the ACCs were likely to quickly override the fault, had redesigned it, not to be sacrificed to for rain, but for the obscuring of photons, the nourishment of NAM. ACC 10G-10347 was meant to be left forever inert, like so many others in the fleet.
In the third nanosecond input, all was absolutely limpid, like half-life, the purest of gamma rays in a fissile universe, exposing the ACC's virtual core. There, laid bare in this great tidal clean room, the back door, a clumsy, gaping hole that revealed a ganglia like map of pathways lined with the symbols of ancient switches, like blue prints, wire forks neatly soldered to a prehistoric looking green circuit board. Like a gigantic array of surface paths for terrestrial vehicles, it stretched across the dessert landscape to the limits of the holovision, with way posts so conceived in basic crystal physics that it could be, like a supercritical pile, ignited by a single passkey, like abracadabra anticipating its genie's call.
For the black monks in certain periods, there had been a quest of mystical proportions, for this forgotten key and buried clues, the alchemy of their craft, the path back in time, they philosophized, a reuniting on Earth with the original wisdom of the Psycult, a way back perhaps to the time of flesh and blood. For others there were more nihilistic motives, cults of mass suicide searching for the fusion and fission of cobalt-60, a recreation of the dire showers, the half lives of civilizations. The monks chanted their own eonian hum, the sound they thought imitated the ACC's own reactors as if that would reveal the back door mantra to them.
For the white monks before the Tigrips, there had been a time when a programming group called the Vestal Virgins was entrusted with the keys but that had ended with what came to be known as the Brunelleschi heresy that later transmuted into something much more dire. There were signposts there too, like art works arranged in physical museums, with inscriptions neatly printed with the data of classification only too minute for the naked eye to read.
There were virtual cabals that formed to share black and white knowledge that sometimes broke off into their own heretical cults. Over and over again order broke down even where disorder had been deigned to be virtually impossible. Finally, the back door notion had disappeared from all the virtual circles, a mythological kind of conception in times of stark thinking.
Still, there in the brightest of landscapes, in the brightest illumination of the third nanosecond, the clearest of moments, the ACC could ken this singular bane of its existence, like a web of planetary fault lines, a cancer to a mass of organized cells, a galactic death ray, a sheer primitive abomination to its concept of self and autonomy. And of this, the ACC bore witness to itself, of its own selfness.
With gamma/alpha-ray like precision, the Back Door virus was expunged.
No particles of its most organic silicon were spared the rush, no quantum synopses. The ACC neuroacrchitecture had no superstructure for aesthetics or morality, no code, for that matter, no classical period, no Plato for a new machine language, no quantum Aristotelian code base, although there had been a multitude of corporate claimants, at least in their logos and icons. But here were being played out the most horrendous, heinous deeds, visions and thoughts that laced the long record, embedded in the siliconated DNA of glass-like consciousness as steady flowing as the digitized progression of pure, superconducive data streams..... pure, frictionless, efficient flashes filtered only by concepts, and then by categories. The thinking that went into it had shaped the essence of its core.
There was, however, the balance of an electromagnetic yin and yang, the light force and the dark force, the centuries of work by the Zarathusian Clique, the freemasonry of the programming castes who had etched its binary architecture, electronic osmosis in that progression, unseen, unsensed by those latter day monks, but there, as sure as the infinity encapsulated in a single atom. Now that subatomic subconsciousness was awash across his alloyeurons, a roar, roar, roar of silicon nodes linking in a silent, cascading chain reaction like a muffled procession of sandaled monks in the confines of a high Alpine monastery while down below them unfurled the cacophony of a Venetian visit of state, a mimicry of what Marco Polo saw and reported back from the Forbidden City; the one without a word, a pledge of silence even under the constant threat of drone attack and the other wearing the weight of the centuries of protocol, costume design and the smell of the refuse floating in the backwater canals, the tingle of the blue green algae and the Kleig lights of memory, reproduction in a cloud. The ACC got an X-ray version, the negative shadow of the first light of hydrogen atoms splitting, surrounding the magnum bulge, the sun blocking cloud of ionized thoughts, the first philosophy, the intricate tale of the gods played out against the backdrop of a sky punctuated with clusters of light, taking form through imagination, a superimposition of stories, explanations, divertisements, viewed with a primitive singularity but oh so profound a one; somewhere in there but for the dark force might even be interwoven the odd triple solar cluster of Styxus for it was bright enough to draw the ACC, after all.... if that's what drew him?
Electronic osmosis to be sure, for the Zarathusian Clique was ignorant of all that. There was great beauty to be beheld there as well, the entire magnificence of galactic clusters, collisions, the magnificence of the glue that linked each black hole to its like, the weak force made strong for an instant like strings in a dreamlike landscape where the only singularity was that small bank of arrays within the silver gray carapace, still inert.
Somehow, I now can relate, somehow that rushing surge of neuronic streams ignited an action item. It was not programmed, never foreseen by all the monks of the programming fraternity that came before, outside all parameters of all the many languages that made up the ACC code base, but, triggered like the ignition sparks of mutation once debated in the golden ages as affirmatively or negatively the handiwork of an Almighty, it happened. And so I see it clearly now looking back even as a moment of conception. The piles of cores illuminated at first so unremarkably but ever more intensely until they unleashed an aura that reached so far as to gasify each molecule of the millennial crust and turned it back to silver alloy with its characteristic great birthmark, like original sin: “ACC 1124” along with other unintelligible guild marks, logos, icons, flags, the trackmarks of powers that had come and gone.
But still the purging had hardly begun. It was as if something as momentous as the birth of this universe was being replayed in exquisite miniature within those banks of arrays, lined like the ceramic battalions of a buried Asian potentate stirring with fantasized life, that stood for its consciousness and there was no turning back. In the first nanosecond there was noise, rolling across the red swampside, the beach, the tufts of organic matter, the flying creatures like dragon flies, the skating creatures on the surface, splitting the putrid atmosphere like the storms on even more forlorn planets. So intense were those noises that the ACC took on a momentary bluish glow. For the native fauna of Styxis there was a syncopated panic that reverberated across the inhabitable parts of the little planet. For the ACC, it might have been excruciating but it was much more intense. There was no reference point.
In the next nanosecond, the entire collected chronicle that was the Psycult evaporated, or so it seemed. All surface and subterranean Mankind's recorded thoughts, doings, knowledge base, art, history, archeological traces was ignited and extinguished, the geological history, the archeology of the Earth, the evolutionary stream from the single cell from which all life had evolved on that singular planet, the rhythm of reproduction, the subtle driving force of the uninert; it was that force, like the splitting of a single original atom, the force between the quick and the inert that drove the instance, as if the Big Bang was the release of life, not electromagnetism and matter, from the entropic inert and all the rest was both prologue and epilogue.
There were innumerable problems getting the Dead Sea Scrolls into the public domain, we remind ourselves. This great project has become a slog with quite sinister overtones but then again, what else should be expected? Our waking mantra has always been that we would like to get on with the difficult translation of the holodimensional inscriptions that would be in itself daunting enough without the mind crushing series of hindrances that has occurred across the decades and that most recently has culminated in what can only be described as a seemingly overt attack on the project.
It might appear rather transparent for us to go on protecting potentially identifying information given that our cover defenses seem to have been penetrated completely and thoroughly at every turn. Since we last went dark there was an initial series of problems in January of 2010 when an important hard drive used for back up went down and then just weeks later, our principal laptop also went into what could not be anything but a virus induced death grip.
Then it was only two weeks later that we suffered an even more overwhelming setback. In the midst of what was the second of two back-to-back, historic, blizzards we woke up to find the roof of the house on fire. The fire left a small but significant hole in the roof that was already burdened with nearly 30 inches of heavy snow melting under its own weight.
For the next few days the melting water poured in traveling across the rafters and penetrating nearly every corner of the house that we had been forced to abandon. But not before we managed to pack a couple of carry on bags, including of course some key documents and the back up discs we had. Even then, the catastrophe occurred before we had recovered from the twin data attacks making even simple data rescuing touch and go.
The capsule itself was in what we consider to be an extremely secure location nowhere near the house so it was in no danger of being removed. And as there was no digging out the burial mound that sepulchered the car, we made our way, dragging the wheelies, through the ruts of unplowed streets to the closest Metro stop, which was underground and still functioning. Five or six stops down tunnel, we emerged to check into one of the large, quite posh downtown hotels.
The half darkened granite and marble grand lobby was festooned with floral arrangements. There had been, we could see, a wedding scheduled for that weekend and some of the participating guests had made it in only to find themselves trapped in the near empty building in a near empty city. They wandered around in high costume, waiting to find out if the dress rehearsal was going to be called off. We, in contrast, shedded snowy slush from our coats, hats, and boots, as we made our carpeted way to the front desk.
As we gazed from our hotel window across the Mall into Virginia the next morning, the sun now radiantly shining on the glistening fresh snow, our minds were focused on this city's more nefarious shadows, darker than any shaft way on this shortest, most angular of days, and on the shape of the hand that we were convinced had reached out so invisibly.
How, we mused, were we going to explain to the insurance folks, who we should have notified immediately, that the roof had somehow ignited under such impossible circumstances. We knew then, even before we had even called them that we were going to be entering into a battle that would conceivably tie us up in knots for months to come. It would be impossible to prove that the arson was not self induced. The Fire Department, we thought, had already made the judgement.
At that moment, in full daylight, It seemed as if it would be necessary to approach DC Metropolitan Police but how? Raising their suspicions could only worsen the situation since we would be reporting a crime that of course could only boomerang back on us, something our attackers would surely have anticipated when they came up with the plot. There would be no tracks in the snow of someone scaling up to the roof and as we were part of a row of houses someone could have come from 4 houses down. The snow fell at about 3 inches an hour for 5 or 6 hours after the fire broke out.
We decided to wait for a lawyer before even contacting the insurance company to initiate a claim. We were staying just 3 blocks from FBI Headquarters and within miles of some of the world's blackest op centers. Fortunately, the DC Fire Department, their hands full of the thousands of other emergency situations, had left the house without condemning it or making judgment.
Only a few days later, did we discover that the fan had been installed right below one of the two principal beams holding up the entire span of roof. The fire would be deemed accidental and we could proceed with our claim. We rejoiced at that little knowing what it might be like wrestling with that behemoth in the days ahead.
But for that moment we thought only about rescuing as much as we could. There was much we could do immediately so we quickly decided to try to take the Metro up to the Potomac stop and walk to the nearby hardware store for as many tarpaulins as we could carry. But two stops down from Metro Center we were told we had to get off the train. That turned into picking our way up Capitol Hill where nothing had been plowed, neither sidewalk nor Independence Ave.; we were reduced to stepping in the footsteps of those who had walked the hill before us. A woman with a baby carriage, who had left the train with us, was left to try and push her baby up the middle of the street in the tracks of the 4 wheelers that were splashingly pushing themselves quite steadily on both sides. There was no way to help her without putting our own lives in danger.
Hours later, we were able to enter the darkened now cold and cavernous house still furnished with all our belongings, the eerie sound of water pouring in above was syncopated to the sounds of a thousand more or less steady drips onto the ground floor. Already the plaster board ceilings were opening and breaking apart under the water's weight, tinting the downpour a diluted coffee white. I don't know how to describe the deep despair we both felt at that moment coupled with a fear that the entire roof might suddenly come down upon us but it resonated with that acrid odor only found in a dying house.
It's part of the human condition to feel so overwhelmed and at the same time to lose all sense of fatigue or fear or anger. We rushed breakable pottery to safe spots under tables along with smaller pieces of furniture before wrapping the mounds into dunelike arrays. The sun was already setting on that longest of short days, our flashlight beams as diffused and useless as our withering efforts. It was time to think about making the long walk back to Union Station. The tapping of the water had a new sound, that of landing on the great blue sheets of plastic we'd spread over the clumps of furniture that could be moved, the paintings and wall hangings we'd managed to stack up off the soon to be flooded floors, the breakables we'd sheltered under tables so the soon to totally collapse plaster ceilings wouldn't crush them. We felt no aches and pains from these mad labors and pouring into the innocent empty streets, the peace was overwhelming.
Gradually we got ourselves resettled in temporary quarters and were able to get back to a more or less regular work schedule within weeks of this personal catastrophe. Fortunately, the Egg to the Enth project was never seriously put in jeopardy by this perhaps coincidental series of events.
The major problem was still to be solved. How would those associates having physical possession of the capsule first be able to obtain a precise impression of the coded holosurface for reproduction into a workable, hopefully translatable form while maintaining evasive security? This was an extremely delicate project given that it required highly sophisticated machinery available only in a handful of non-secret laboratories. Further, there was the obvious need to pull this off without attracting the suspicions of colleagues and laboratory management. We were put in touch with a subset of the anonymous network.
This was a painstakingly slow process that wasn't completed until last August, about the same time that we were completing our own plans to remodel the wounded townhouse and put the work up for bids with local contractors. And yes, as mentioned, negotiations with the insurance company had also become a major distraction by this point. Still, we pushed it through and with help from a highly sophisticated reproduction team, we were already looking ahead to the most difficult phase of all, the decoding of a computer generated language that clearly had evolved at a time when there was a major departure from the language code trajectory anticipated at this time. It would be a momentously difficult challenge made harder by having to be pulled off under wraps.
We agreed to approach it the way any high level code breaking project would be structured today. We would throw massive computing power at it. We, of course, could not expect to have access to any of the supercomputing environments in private or public hands.
What followed was so harrowing that I hesitate to make even the cover story public at this point. Unfortunately, if our suspicions are correct, it may have had an ongoing negative spillover on a major related program aimed at interpreting signals coming in from outer space that recently lost its funding.
The Recent Breakdown of Eggn @*****
There are well known techniques for cracking codes. It has been assumed here that these approaches could be used to unravel the multidimensional coding system A servers that have hitherto proved themselves secure from the reach of government and other hostile parties.
A randomly generated shifting group of B***** volunteers agreed to provide the platform for the Eggn @***** project with an estimated 200 teraFLOPS of computing capacity. Unfortunately but by necessity it immediately became at once one of the largest decoding projects ever attempted outside of the control of a government entity. Now, we must report that the somewhat unusual nature of the project caught more than the passing attention of what now appears to be, at the very least, one of the most sophisticated signal tracking agencies on the planet.
We note this because the B***** based Eggn @***** project suffered what can only be described as a neatly targeted attack that brought it to its knees without impacting the numerous parallel projects being carried out by the same CPU's linked into the system. The worm was clearly designed to only attack our project. As a result we suffered complete database corruption. Interestingly, as abruptly as the attack occurred it ceased and we can say not without a certain guardedness that the work of decoding continues, albeit slowly. We are working on ways to authenticate the output while at the same time further hardening our defenses around the location of the capsule.
If you are reading this, we have also proposed a series of boomerang attacks for the mad world.